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January 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM EST

WARNING: Because of the sheer wondrousness of tonight’s ep, we’re posting early. If you haven’t seen it yet, read no further. There will be SPOILERS!

I take it you saw the promos, Newbies? But still, wasn’t the real thing so much better? Be honest: Are you still squeeing yourself? Without a doubt, this episode was everything — a DVR keeper — so brace yourselves for a long recap. Then, after you’ve read and rewatched (I know I will), come back to after the West Coast airing to read Jessica Shaw’s chat with show creator Liz Meriwether and Jake Johnson about the decision to finally let this huge moment happen, the day Johnson and Zooey Deschanel shot the scene, and what he hopes will come of this game-changing moment. (UPDATE: It’s here!)

And it will be a game-changer. There has been no shortage of chatter dedicated to the appropriate circumstances of a Jess and Nick kiss. How could the writers possibly present it in an appropriately fresh, non-trite way? One that wouldn’t set the relationship (if there should be one) up for failure? Well, kids, I’m happy to report that they nailed it. It was necessary story-wise but just out-of-nowhere enough that the characters aren’t painted into a corner and forced to resolve things in the immediate future; it was just emotionally revelatory enough that Jess will be thinking of that moment for a long time to come — and so will we. (Also? Jake Johnson? Stop it with your undercover hotness already. Seriously. How can a man so skilled at turtle face be this sexy?) Add to the mix the return of True American(!), a typically twisted and totally shipper-stoking Schmidt-Cece moment, and the rare chance for Winston to get a little action, and this was the ultimate episode. Onward!

To be fair, Nick didn’t start the episode in top form. More like in female form — he was sporting a woman’s trench coat that had accidentally been delivered to the loft. And yet he felt unstoppable — nay, “hot to trot!” while swathed in its “clean lines and pockets that don’t quit.” He even performed little Michael Jackson circa Jackson 5-style spins because he looked that damn good. Winston and Jess were not impressed, but their mockery was cut short when Schmidt emerged from his bedroom in a sheet diaper to announce he hadn’t been able to “get anything going” with himself for more than an hour (the door had been open this whole time, mind you). He vowed to go out and have sex, and he invited “London Fog” Nick and “Last Lovin’ on Labor Day” Winston to prowl with him. Band of brothers! (Goofily dancing brothers in Nick and Schmidt’s case.)

“World’s Best Wingwoman, reporting for duty!” Jess chirped, only to be told she was not invited because she’s Nick’s cooler. (Cooler, for the uninitiated, is a nice way of saying c—blocker.) Jess denied Nick’s accusation, and he tried play it down. “It’s not you… it’s the way that you behave and the things that you say and the look on your face and,” he paused, unable to deny the truth. “It is you! It’s you. You’re the cooler!” So Jess resigned herself to staying in for the night to clean her closet and try out her new ice cream maker. (That actually sounds like an amazing night. Related note: I’m old.)

NEXT PAGE: Sad girls do it well

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Zooey Deschanel plays lovable Jess, who is plodding through life with a good group of friends.
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